Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., pledged Wednesday to protect the interests of a Fort Wayne defense contractor and Warsaw’s orthopedics industry.
Donnelly toured the local Raytheon plant and said its products should be spared as Congress tries to reduce federal spending.
The work done here is critical and is necessary, he said about the plant, which designs and manufactures military communications equipment.
Donnelly told reporters he is scheduled to meet next week with Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense.
One of the messages I’m going to be giving him is the incredibly important role that Raytheon plays in protecting our war fighters, the freshman senator said.
Raytheon employs about 1,000 locally.
Donnelly was scheduled to visit OrthoWorx later Wednesday.
The Warsaw-based nonprofit organization supports Kosciusko County manufacturers of orthopedic devices, which together employ 13,000.
Donnelly favors repealing the 2.3 percent sales tax imposed this year on medical device makers. The tax will help fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Donnelly voted for when he was a member of the House.
He said tax-repeal advocates in Congress have enlisted the support of the Nos. 2 and 3 leaders in the Democratic-controlled Senate: Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois and Democratic Conference co-Chairman Charles Schumer of New York.
Repeal advocates next will try to win over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., according to Donnelly, who said the tax might be included in negotiations over automatic spending cuts that take effect March 1.